What Our Cheers Might Reveal

I was with a group of believers not long ago in a time of song and praise, and I noticed something curious during one song. I didn’t know the song but in one of the verses there were two lines about things that need to die. The first said something like “where religion dies.†Every time we sang that line it got great cheers and whooping from the crowd.

The next line was about our pride dying as well. It didn’t get the same cheers. In fact, it didn’t get any. Interesting… It’s easy to want religion to die. It is outside of us and doesn’t cost us anything. Pride is inside of us and we all know what that might cost us when it dies. I get it, but it made me sad nonetheless. In fact I mentioned it to them a bit later when I spoke. Why don’t we bring the same passion to God’s work transforming us from the inside as we do the work he needs to do on the outside?

That may be why so many people who have seen through the bondages of religious systems hve yet to find great freedom and life beyond it. It is easy to cheer for the destruction of things that have hurt us. I get emails like that all the time, cheering on things I’ve written about the ineffectiveness of religion. Some of those I know who call out the loudest for the destruction of organized religion as we know it are sometimes the least transformed personally to reflect the compassion and character of God to people around them—especially to those still captive in the system.

Interestingly, I do not get the same cheers back from people when I talk about letting God rework us from the inside and what needs to die in us if we’re going to experience the fullness of his life. If we could only see that our pride and independence are even more destructive, especially because they live with us every day. Real transformation doesn’t happen out there in structures and systems, but first in those who are willing to let him transform them at the most broken places of their lives.

And if you’re not ready for that, then you’re just really not sure yet how much this awesome God loves you. Keep exploring that until finally your joy at his dealing with your pride is greater than your hope at him blowing up religion. Then we’ll know we are well on the path to his life!

——-

On a personal note, we are on the road this weekend in Central California and our office is closed until Wednesday. Books and CDs ordered this weekend won’t be shipped until then. I apologize for any inconvenience this causes…

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12 Comments
  1. Tyler Dawn August 5, 2006 at 3:29 am

    Ah yes, “Dancin’ with my Father God in Fields of Grace.” Know it well, sang it in my last IC as part of the Praise Team, under the leadership of the man who tried to destroy me because of his own pride — but the Lord used it to destroy a lot of my pride instead.

    Pride is the most painful thing to have exposed, and the pain doesn’t lessen no matter how much we’ve gotten rid of in the past. Yesterday I got in a discussion with two Mormon boys who came to my door and everytime I would counter something they said with scripture, they would arrogantly look at each other and smile. When I went back inside the house, I was seething. I realised I had no reason to be seething and so I took it before the Lord and He revealed it as PRIDE. Ouch.

    “Why should their arrogant looks bother you? You claim to be upset because of their level of deception, but truly you are upset because they didn’t bow down before your persuasive words.”

    Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.

    I was trying to make their religion and pride die while nurturing my own. Pride is more deceptive than just about anything, it masks itself as so many other noble things….. but in fact is the least emotion of all.

  2. Tyler Dawn August 5, 2006 at 3:31 am

    Oops, meant to say that pride is the least noble emotion of all!!!!

  3. Tyler Dawn August 5, 2006 at 6:29 am

    Ah yes, “Dancin’ with my Father God in Fields of Grace.” Know it well, sang it in my last IC as part of the Praise Team, under the leadership of the man who tried to destroy me because of his own pride — but the Lord used it to destroy a lot of my pride instead.

    Pride is the most painful thing to have exposed, and the pain doesn’t lessen no matter how much we’ve gotten rid of in the past. Yesterday I got in a discussion with two Mormon boys who came to my door and everytime I would counter something they said with scripture, they would arrogantly look at each other and smile. When I went back inside the house, I was seething. I realised I had no reason to be seething and so I took it before the Lord and He revealed it as PRIDE. Ouch.

    “Why should their arrogant looks bother you? You claim to be upset because of their level of deception, but truly you are upset because they didn’t bow down before your persuasive words.”

    Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.

    I was trying to make their religion and pride die while nurturing my own. Pride is more deceptive than just about anything, it masks itself as so many other noble things….. but in fact is the least emotion of all.

  4. Tyler Dawn August 5, 2006 at 6:31 am

    Oops, meant to say that pride is the least noble emotion of all!!!!

  5. KelleyB August 5, 2006 at 7:20 pm

    Wow – the point you bring up is really interesting. From my past experiences, I have learned that many times when I see something that bothers me about someone else (or even a church) it is because an ugly part of me sees myself as a reflection in the mirror of the other person, and I just can’t deal with it. It is much easier to smash the mirror and walk around believing that I’m OK. It’s the whole speck/plank in the eye dilemma all over again.

  6. KelleyB August 5, 2006 at 10:20 pm

    Wow – the point you bring up is really interesting. From my past experiences, I have learned that many times when I see something that bothers me about someone else (or even a church) it is because an ugly part of me sees myself as a reflection in the mirror of the other person, and I just can’t deal with it. It is much easier to smash the mirror and walk around believing that I’m OK. It’s the whole speck/plank in the eye dilemma all over again.

  7. sundoulos August 6, 2006 at 4:54 pm

    Thank you, O man who is loved by God!

    May Father, the Master, and Holy Spirit slay our pride. I am one of those who has been loud in condemning institutional religion, thinking I was somehow more highly-favored in the eyes of our Lord. One morning during a teaching about the “body of Christ” Jesus asked the simple question, “What part of the body are you?” My immediate, unequivocal reply was “the head”. Before I heard the words fade in my head, I was trying to cover my tracks, trying to deny what I had said. As Holy Spirit, gently but firmly brought me back to my statement, my heart broke. I quickly tried to do all things I’d been taught and taught others. Confess my sin, state my sorrow, repent, ask (no, beg!) forgiveness…but it was not enough. Father had given me a precious gift, an insight into my soul, and He was not want to let me waste it. I could do nothing but weep, devastated at the enormity of my pride. I’m a changed person since that day…while I love who I am in the Beloved…I continue to delight as He strips me of pride.

    Institutional religion, pro or con, is not very important to me anymore. Only Jesus; it’s all about Him!

    Thanks again for the reminder,
    sundoulos

  8. sundoulos August 6, 2006 at 7:54 pm

    Thank you, O man who is loved by God!

    May Father, the Master, and Holy Spirit slay our pride. I am one of those who has been loud in condemning institutional religion, thinking I was somehow more highly-favored in the eyes of our Lord. One morning during a teaching about the “body of Christ” Jesus asked the simple question, “What part of the body are you?” My immediate, unequivocal reply was “the head”. Before I heard the words fade in my head, I was trying to cover my tracks, trying to deny what I had said. As Holy Spirit, gently but firmly brought me back to my statement, my heart broke. I quickly tried to do all things I’d been taught and taught others. Confess my sin, state my sorrow, repent, ask (no, beg!) forgiveness…but it was not enough. Father had given me a precious gift, an insight into my soul, and He was not want to let me waste it. I could do nothing but weep, devastated at the enormity of my pride. I’m a changed person since that day…while I love who I am in the Beloved…I continue to delight as He strips me of pride.

    Institutional religion, pro or con, is not very important to me anymore. Only Jesus; it’s all about Him!

    Thanks again for the reminder,
    sundoulos

  9. Richard August 7, 2006 at 10:33 am

    Wayne,

    Thanks for this, and thanks sundoulos for your sharing. Religion is a unnatural natural thing all flesh seems to gravitate to. It will flater our egos, it will compliment us in what we think we’re capable of achieving.
    The issue of pride wasn’t produced by being part of any religious involvement, neither will it be deleted by being removed from religion, or living outside of the box.
    I am seeing more and more how Father is working through all curcumstances and situations to show me-me.
    We are without a doubt perfected within our spirit union with our Father, but far from that within our soul.
    I love how He has made it clear, ‘If I continue to follow Him, I will know the Truth, and the Truth will set me free.’
    I have to ask, ‘Set free from what Lord?’ Maybe being set free from the lies I believe that there is a perfection apart from Him being my only Life!!

    Richard

  10. Richard August 7, 2006 at 1:33 pm

    Wayne,

    Thanks for this, and thanks sundoulos for your sharing. Religion is a unnatural natural thing all flesh seems to gravitate to. It will flater our egos, it will compliment us in what we think we’re capable of achieving.
    The issue of pride wasn’t produced by being part of any religious involvement, neither will it be deleted by being removed from religion, or living outside of the box.
    I am seeing more and more how Father is working through all curcumstances and situations to show me-me.
    We are without a doubt perfected within our spirit union with our Father, but far from that within our soul.
    I love how He has made it clear, ‘If I continue to follow Him, I will know the Truth, and the Truth will set me free.’
    I have to ask, ‘Set free from what Lord?’ Maybe being set free from the lies I believe that there is a perfection apart from Him being my only Life!!

    Richard

  11. nicole August 24, 2006 at 11:29 pm

    Wayne, thanks for the reminder. I have found that since the external artifacts of religion that I had around me were deconstructed, the work continues on the interior, and I am undergoing deconstruction of almost everything I have held dear or believed to be true. Some days I feel like I am becoming a worse person, and then I am reminded about that quote from Madam Guyon, something about seeing better the closer we come to the light? I am doing a lot of ducking and diving, and sometimes running for cover from this painful surgery- but even these responses are useful when I take them before my God and see them for what they are. I also find that I have the confidence to ask God the hard questions, questions I would never have dared ask when I was a slave to the system.God has been gracious to me, and put me in a community which is ‘the safest place on earth’. Because I know I can trust God’s love, and I am totally accepted by my friends, I can surrender to this interior work, and trust God’s hand leading me day by day.

  12. nicole August 25, 2006 at 2:29 am

    Wayne, thanks for the reminder. I have found that since the external artifacts of religion that I had around me were deconstructed, the work continues on the interior, and I am undergoing deconstruction of almost everything I have held dear or believed to be true. Some days I feel like I am becoming a worse person, and then I am reminded about that quote from Madam Guyon, something about seeing better the closer we come to the light? I am doing a lot of ducking and diving, and sometimes running for cover from this painful surgery- but even these responses are useful when I take them before my God and see them for what they are. I also find that I have the confidence to ask God the hard questions, questions I would never have dared ask when I was a slave to the system.God has been gracious to me, and put me in a community which is ‘the safest place on earth’. Because I know I can trust God’s love, and I am totally accepted by my friends, I can surrender to this interior work, and trust God’s hand leading me day by day.

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